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Employees > Item 1 - Purpose and Function of Our Government - General > PART I > Government 10-K

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As of the dates shown below, there were 23.6 million full-time and part-time employees of our Government, including:

  • 4.0 million federal employees, of whom 8% (excluding armed forces) work part-time;
  • 5.4 million state employees, of whom 30% work part-time; and
  • 14.2 million local government employees, of whom 23% work part-time.

The functions of our Government employing the most people and the respective percentage of Government employees were:

  • Education – 47%, of which 70% relate to elementary and secondary education, 29% relate to higher education, and 1% relate to other education;
  • Active duty military – 6%;
  • Hospitals – 6%; and
  • Police – 5%.

Employees by segment and reporting unit (to the extent allocable) were as follows:

March

Total

State and Local

2018

Federal

2014 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All government employees (part-time and full-time)

23,639,003

19,600,048

4,038,955

Establish Justice and Ensure Domestic Tranquility

2,873,085

2,587,846

285,239

Police protection

1,183,049

997,419

185,630

Fire protection

437,282

437,282

Corrections

751,808

712,797

39,011

Judicial and legal

500,946

440,348

60,598

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Provide for the Common Defense

2,082,300

2,082,300

National defense and international relations 1

743,813

743,813

Active duty military 2

1,338,487

1,338,487

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Promote the General Welfare

4,773,903

3,707,476

1,066,427

Highways

512,088

509,205

2,883

Transit

263,542

263,542

Air transportation

97,850

52,787

45,063

Water transport and terminals

18,436

13,943

4,493

Space research and technology

17,736

17,736

Public welfare

550,633

540,946

9,687

Housing and community development

124,291

112,064

12,227

Health

649,638

480,508

169,130

Hospitals

1,351,756

1,125,041

226,715

Social insurance administration (state and local) 3

69,068

69,068

Solid waste management

116,522

116,522

Sewerage

133,443

133,443

Water supply

186,332

186,332

Electric power

78,757

78,757

Gas supply

11,783

11,783

Postal service

578,493

578,493

State liquor stores

13,535

13,535

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secure the Blessings of Liberty to Ourselves and Our Posterity

12,236,430

11,964,927

271,503

Education

11,166,075

11,156,701

9,374

Libraries

189,564

186,184

3,380

Parks and Recreation

454,315

429,961

24,354

Social Insurance Administration (federal) 3

62,708

62,708

Natural Resources

363,768

192,081

171,687

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

General Government and Other

1,673,285

1,339,799

333,486

Financial administration

556,916

439,765

117,151

Other government administration

437,613

413,478

24,135

All other and unallocable

678,756

486,556

192,200

 

 

 

 

Sources: US Census Bureau, Bureau of Economic Analysis

†† We limited the data in this table to the years presented to provide the most recent data but to also fit the table to the page. Additional years of data and more detail may be found on our website. Click “More detail” to access it.

1 Civilian military employees are included in national defense and international relations.

2 Active duty military are as of September of each year, reserves are not included.

3 At the federal level, social insurance administration employees are primarily those responsible for administering Social Security and Medicare and therefore have been allocated to “Secure the Blessings of Liberty to Ourselves and Our Posterity.” State and local social insurance administration employees administer unemployment and job services and therefore are allocated to “Promote the General Welfare.”

4 Federal employees are as of March of 2014, the latest date available.

For 2019, 37% of government employees were represented by unions, including 30% of federal government employees, 32% of state government employees, and 43% of local government employees.30

Talented employees are critical to the success of our Government, and the market for talented employees is competitive. The Government Accountability Office has found that mission-critical skills gaps within the federal workforce pose a high risk to the nation. Regardless of whether the shortfalls are in such government-wide occupations as cybersecurity and acquisitions, or in agency-specific occupations such as nurses at the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), skills gaps impede the federal government from cost-effectively serving the public and achieving results. Agencies can have skills gaps for different reasons: they may have an insufficient number of people or their people may not have the appropriate skills or abilities to accomplish mission-critical work. Moreover, current budget and long-term fiscal pressures, the changing nature of federal work, and a potential wave of employee retirements that could produce gaps in leadership and institutional knowledge, threaten to aggravate the problems created by existing skills gaps. Indeed, the government’s capacity to address complex challenges such as disaster response, national and homeland security, and rapidly-evolving technology and privacy security issues requires a skilled federal workforce able to work seamlessly with other agencies, with other levels of government, and across sectors.31